Now that fall is here, dolphin are on the move back south and South Florida anglers have enjoyed some of the best fishing of the year for the highly coveted species.
Capt. Bouncer Smith had a trip Monday out of Miami Beach Marina that rivaled any of his dolphin trips in May, which is typically the best time of the year to catch lots of dolphin.
Rob McCully and David Spain of Miami and Jonathan Lapin of New York caught their limit of 30 dolphin up to 20 pounds fishing along a rip with grass 12 miles offshore on Bouncer's Dusky 33.
"We caught dolphin up to 15 pounds one right after the other trolling feathers and ballyhoo," Smith said. "A fish would hit a ballyhoo, then a fish would hit a feather, then a fish would hit a ballyhoo and the next fish would hit a feather."
Eventually, Smith came upon a large piece of floating debris. When he trolled by that, his anglers caught a 20-pound dolphin and two fish 15 to 18 pounds.
The debris also held a solid school of dolphin 5-8 pounds, along with some wahoos. Trolling spoons around the debris produced six wahoos up to 14 pounds.
Before heading offshore, Smith had trolled 31/2 Drone spoons on No. 4 planers in 150 feet and his anglers caught their limit of kingfish.
Dolphin also were biting off Palm Beach County. Willie Howard, of West Palm Beach, and his son Max, 16, were drifting in 90 feet a few miles north of Lake Worth Inlet when a bull and a cow dolphin showed up alongside their boat.
Max pitched out a dead sardine on a Gulfstream Lures yellowtail jig and a 12-pound spinning outfit and, after a 15-minute fight, he landed the 22-pound bull. His father caught the 15-pound cow, also on a dead sardine.
Capt. Alan Zaremba, of Hollywood, reported pretty good freshwater fishing, noting that there was "a true fall bite going, which means lots of topwater action," for largemouth and peacock bass.
"Even with high water out in the Everglades, I am still getting a good topwater bite in the more isolated canals with no marsh access," Zaremba said.
"And the urban canals have also been yielding good peacock bass and snakehead action. Both snakeheads and peacock bass are biting Heddon Baby Torpedoes and Storm Chug Bugs."
Gary Shumacker of Jacksonville caught 24 largemouths and 15 peacocks fly fishing in the L-30 with gurglers and poppers worked aggressively. Ted Sander of Cooper City caught eight peacocks using Baby Torpedoes on a morning trip in the C-6.
Josh and Matt Goodry of New Orleans caught 15 peacocks up to 3 pounds and two snook using AZ Jungle Jigs and Baby Torpedoes in the C-100. Joe Sultan of Pompano Beach caught four snakeheads, two peacocks and a few largemouths on Chug Bugs and Baby Torpedoes during a half-day trip in the G-15.
Ray Shimoaubo of Big Pine Key caught nine snakeheads, 14 peacocks and three largemouths using Baby Torpedoes in the L-35A.
Daniel Paret, 15, Andrea Paret, 12, and Ryan Holland, 14, all of Miami Lakes, caught 15 peacocks up to 3 pounds on AZ Jungle Jigs and Baby Torpedoes..
Reef meeting: Dr. Brian Walker and Amanda Costaregni of Nova Southeastern University present "The Seascape of the Northern Florida Reef Tract" at the Hollywood Hills Saltwater Fishing Science and Social Club meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Shenanigans East Side Pub, 1300 S. Federal Highway, Dania Beach.
Walker and Costaregni will discuss the new Our Florida Reef Marine Planner software, which features detailed maps of the ocean bottom off South Florida, and seek feedback for an Our Florida Reef survey about reef use.